Two majority shareholders have offered to buy out Wah Kwong Shipping Holdings, one of Hong Kong's oldest listed companies, in a move that would result in delistings locally and in London. George Chao Sze-kwong, president of Wah Kwong, and CMB, a shipping company based in Belgium, have proposed buying for HK$427 million the remaining 57.7 per cent of shares they do not own from shareholders. The offer is HK$5.65 a share, valuing Wah Kwong at HK$723.5 million. The offer represents a 17.7 per cent premium to the company's last closing price on May 31. However, Wah Kwong has a net-asset value of HK$1.45 billion, or HK$11.37 per share. This means Mr Chao, who holds 15.2 per cent of Wah Kwong, and CMB, which owns 27.1 per cent, will acquire the shares at less than half their net-asset value. Still, the offer would be the highest price the counter has seen in two years. Wah Kwong, listed in 1973, is not an active counter. Only 15,000 shares have changed hands daily since the beginning of the year. Mr Chao and CMB said yesterday they had secured irrevocable agreements from two majority shareholders, Rosanna Gaw and Li Kwok-yin, to sell their holdings of 23 per cent and 9.7 per cent. Mrs Gaw, who bought a portfolio of stocks including Wah Kwong from Pioneer Industries last year, could cash in HK$166 million from the sale of her stake. Wah Kwong has not posted a profit since 1998. The company had a loss of HK$58.9 million in the year to March 31 last year. The loss widened to HK$79.1 million in the first half to September 30 last year. In a statement to the stock exchange, Mr Chao and CMB said the company's business and management structure would remain intact after the delisting. Jardine Fleming will represent Mr Chao and CMB in the proposed buy-out, while Anglo-Chinese will act for Wah Kwong. Wah Kwong is to resume share trading today.